The Cincinnati Reds have been plagued with injuries, specifically over the last few weeks. The team was already with it's top two starting pitchers (Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo), and things have only gotten worse.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Nick Senzel, and Spencer Steer have helped offset the loss of India, who's expected to return later this week, but the team's outfield depth will certainly be tested without Fraley in the lineup for what's likely to be the better part of a month.
Reds depth is sure to be tested as injuries pile up.
Fans were puzzled with some of David Bell's decisions during last Friday's game against the Washington Nationals. Bell kept the trio of Stuart Fairchild, Kevin Newman and Nick Senzel in the lineup after left-handed start Patrick Corbin was removed from the game.
On the surface, this was a rather odd strategy because Jake Fraley would normally come in to pinch hit in those situations. Newman and Senzel have seen success against lefties this season, but Fraley has crushed right-handed pitching this season.
Reds fans got their answer on Saturday when Fraley was placed on the 10-day IL and outfielder T.J. Hopkins was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to take his spot on the active roster. Other options existed with both Jose Barrero and Noelvi Marte on the 40-man roster, but with India presumed to return this week, Hopkins will add some outfield depth for the next couple of days.
The injuries to India and Fraley, combined with the losses of Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Ben Lively, finally seem to be taking a toll on this young Reds team.
Cincinnati has fallen out of first place in the division and now sit a game-and-a-half behind the Milwaukee Brewers. The Chicago Cubs are nipping at their heels as well. The Reds maintain a half-game lead for the final Wild Card spot against their upcoming opponent, the Miami Marlins.
There's never a good time for injuries, but losing Jake Fraley takes away one of David Bell's most potent bats. The Cincinnati Reds will need to weather the storm if they hope to stay in the playoff hunt over the final two months of the 2023 season.